I’ve been gaming for quite some time now (23 years to be exact) and I’ve seen all the ups and downs you could imagine. I’ve played through multiple generations of consoles, dealt with game-breaking bugs and glitches for years, witnessed the beginning of the toxic communities for earliest online multiplayer games, the start of microstransactions .…. but what’s happening now, is too much for me.
In my earlier years as a gamer, I saw the companies that provided my enjoyment as some almighty, omnipotent beings, possessing some power I wish I understood. However, that time has passed.
I’m no longer a child with a silly imagination and the gaming industry is now a multi-billion dollar, a year, making machine. With titles like Red Dead Redemption 2, which floods the gaming world quicker than a virus, it’s easy to see why people are attracted to high quality titles. This is both good and bad. We get great titles, but we get the bugs and dealing with the developers (who honestly don’t like dealing with us either).
It does run deeper than that, however. Everyone in the community is at fault. The publishers and players for pushing developers to release a game that’s not ready, publishers and developers for being far too greedy and players for not speaking up. It’s become a vicious cycle, one that doesn’t seem to be near any sort of end. Throw in the microtransactions and the lack of respect (on both sides), you could be looking at a never ending battle.
As of late, it appears to be getting worse. Bethesda, acknowledged a fault with their Power Armor Editions of Fallout 76. People who purchased the $200 edition were unhappy with a bag that came with it (wrong bag). Bethesdas response may have done them more harm than good.
They simply stated, “We are sorry,” here’s 500 Atoms (the games premium currency) that’s worth a whole whopping five dollars. However, because it’s not even a physical item, it costs Bethesda absolutely nothing to give away. It’s bad business practice on Bethesda’s part and it’s made waves. Some people have announced they’re going to stop defending the companies actions, or just quit buying their games altogether.
We understand and respect that there is disappointment with the bag in the Power Armor Edition. We are sorry. Please contact Bethesda Support to provide proof of your CE purchase. They will assist in granting your account 500 Atoms.
Please visit: https://t.co/TJBMjYaph0
— Fallout (@Fallout) November 29, 2018
Some PC players have even contacted an attorney, who has launched an investigation into Bethesda’s refund policy. Apparently, these players felt the game was too bugged and glitchy to be playable, therefore they’ll get nothing out of it.
It’s not just Bethesda at fault. A lot of gaming companies are starting to feel a little elitist. Just in the last year, many publishers have been attaching early access to every game that hits the shelf. That’s only if you purchase that title’s special editions. Pay extra, get extra. I understand business.
However, this wouldn’t be such an annoyance if it stayed to single-player games exclusively. Shadow of the Tomb Raider gave a full extra 48 hours for people who bought special editions. There’s no multiplayer, so no big deal. Then big publishers like EA and 2K, decided these extra days of playtime should include multiplayer. This problem is perpetuated by early access memberships, like EA Access and Xbox Game Pass.
Those who bought Battlefield 5’s Deluxe Edition had a full week to play online. This is unfair. If you still paid the $60 for a brand new title, you shouldn’t be shut out from the game just because you didn’t spend $100 or more. Considering that some people can only really afford a few games a year, it’s unreasonable to play favoritism. All fans of these games deserve an equal shot.
Rockstar may not have been trying to play favorites with how they released Red Dead Online, but an attempt at keeping their servers from burning to the ground. It’s still the principle of the matter, though. Why should Ultimate Edition owners get a day head start? Is it really so much about money, that the customers happiness is put on the back burner?
Red Dead Online’s release schedule felt a bit elitist. Ultimate Editions went first, followed by players who played opening night, then players that started the game on opening weekend and finally, everyone else. Here’s my problem with that: people have lives. They have to work, they have kids, they have social events to attend. It’s like Rockstar saying, “Thanks for buying our game, but you couldn’t get time to play it launch day, so you have to wait up to 3 days to get online. Enjoy!”
It’s not just early access. Microtransactions (which are heavily pushed), a lack of content (certain titles), gamebreaking glitches and bugs that don’t get fixed for several months, communication between consumer and corporation is slim to none and if you have end up not enjoying a game, good luck getting your money back.
That’s another problem in itself. For everything else you buy in life, if you don’t like the product, you can return it. Here’s the catch with games. If you’ve opened a physical copy, don’t expect to get a refund. If you bought a digital copy, no refund. The only guaranteed time you get a refund is if the physical game you bought is unopened. Games are expensive. Buying even one game with all its DLC can cost you up to $100 — $120.
If you end up no liking the game, you should be able to return it. There should be a system like, as long as your return was in an allotted time frame. Just enough days to give you a taste of what the title has to offer, but not enough to allow you to complete it all the way through.
However, no matter what way you look at it, the gaming community is suffering from the lack of respect between the players and the devs/publishers. Common sense within these corporations is, basically, non-existent. Without each other, none of us would be here. They need us to make money, we need them for entertainment.
In the end, there really isn’t much the gamers can do. We could not buy any games, or protest harder when it’s necessary. Maybe demand that the companies are accountable for games that release entirely broken. Just adjusting the refund policy would make a big difference. Right now, anything they do to better the messed up relationship we are in, is better than nothing. From where I’m sitting, I just see it getting worse and worse, until one side breaks.